Environmental Solutions for Communities Grant Program 2016 Request for Proposals

Full Proposal Due Date:   Thursday, December 10, 2015 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time


Wells Fargo and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) seek to promote sustainable communities through Environmental Solutions for Communities by supporting highly-visible projects that link economic development and community well-being to the stewardship and health of the environment. Approximately $2,460,000 is available nationwide for 2016 projects.

Collectively, investments under this initiative will promote a sustainable future for communities by:
  • Supporting sustainable agricultural practices and private lands stewardship;
  • Conserving critical land and water resources and improving local water quality;
  • Restoring and managing natural habitat, species and ecosystems that are important to community livelihoods;
  • Facilitating investments in green infrastructure, renewable energy and energy efficiency; and
  • Encouraging broad-based citizen and targeted youth participation in project implementation.


For the 2016 Environmental Solutions for Communities program, strong preference will be given to applications supporting funding priorities in the following regions and states, with a particular emphasis on projects undertaken in the urban areas in the states and regions on the following list:
2016 Priority Geographies​ ​ ​ ​
States​ ​Cities ​Counties ​Grant Range
California​ San Francisco / Greater Bay Lake, Humboldt, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara (partial), Sonoma ; Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara (Southern), Santa Cruz, Solano $25,000 - $100,000
Fresno / Central Valley Amador, Calaveras, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles (Antelope Valley), Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura $25,000 - $100,000
​Inland Empire $25,000 - $100,000
​Oregon ​Portland / Coastal ​$25,000 - $100,000
​Alaska ​Rural / Coastal Seward, Cordova, Sitka, Dillingham ​$25,000 - $100,000
​Anchorage ​$25,000 - $100,000
​Juneau ​$25,000 - $100,000
​Fairbanks ​$25,000 - $100,000
​Washington ​Seattle / Statewide ​$25,000 - $100,000
Arizona​ ​Statewide ​$25,000 - $75,000
Idaho​ ​Boise / Rural ​​$25,000 - $75,000
​Minnesota ​Minneapolis / St. Paul ​​$25,000 - $100,000
​Mankato / Rochester ​​$25,000 - $100,000
​Missouri ​St. Louis ​​$25,000 - $100,000
​New Mexico ​Albuquerque ​​​$25,000 - $50,000
​Santa Fe ​​​$25,000 - $50,000
​Texas ​Dallas / Ft. Worth Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, Wise ​​$25,000 - $100,000
​Houston Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend , Galveston, Harris, Montgomery ​$25,000 - $100,000
​Austin Bandera, Bastrop, Bell, Burnet, Comal, Hays, Kendall, Kerr, Llano, Travis, Williamson ​​$25,000 - $100,000
​San Antonio Atascosa, Bexar, Comal, Gillespie, Guadalupe, Wilson ​​$25,000 - $100,000
Utah​ ​Salt Lake City ​​$25,000 - $50,000
​Wisconsin ​Milwaukee / Great Lakes ​​$25,000 - $50,000
​Ohio ​Cleveland ​​$25,000 - $50,000
​Illinois ​Chicago ​​$25,000 - $50,000
​Delaware ​Statewide ​​$25,000 - $50,000
​Florida ​Southern Florida Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe ​​$25,000 - $100,000
​Central Florida Brevard, Citrus, Hernando, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Martin, Orange, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, Polk, St. Lucie, Seminole, Sumter ​​​$25,000 - $100,000
​Georgia ​Augusta / Savannah / Athens / Columbus / Gainesville ​Burke, Columbia, Glascock, Jefferson, McDuffie, Richmond, Warren ; Bryan, Bulloch, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh ; Barrow, Clarke, Jackson, Madison, Oconee, Oglethorpe ; Chattahoochee, Harris, Marion, Meriwether, Muscogee, Talbot, Troup, Phenix City, AL Area: Russell ; Banks, Habersham, Hall, Lumpkin, White, Union $25,000 - $50,000
​Macon / Rome / Dalton ​Baldwin, Bibb, Bleckley, Crawford, Dodge, Houston, Jones, Laurens, Monroe, Peach, Pulaski, Telfair, Twiggs, Washington, Wilkinson ; Chattooga, Floyd, Polk ; Catoosa, Dade, Gordon, Murray, Walker, Whitfield $25,000 - $50,000
Maryland​ Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Prince George’s and Montgomery ​​$25,000 - $100,000
Virginia​ ​Statewide ​​$25,000 - $100,000
Washington, DC​ ​Washington, DC ​​$25,000 - $100,000
New York​ New York City ​​$25,000 - $100,000
North Carolina​ Charlotte / Raleigh / Winston-Salem ​​$25,000 - $100,000
Pennsylvania​ ​Philadelphia Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, Delaware ​​$25,000 - $100,000
​Nevada ​Statewide ​​$25,000 - $100,000


Priority for grants will be given to projects that successfully address one or more of the following:
  • Support innovative, cost-effective programs that enhance stewardship on private agricultural lands to enhance water quality and quantity and/or improve wildlife habitat for species of concern, while maintaining or increasing agricultural productivity.
  • Support community-based conservation projects that protect and restore local habitats and natural areas, enhance water quality, promote urban forestry, educate and train community leaders on sustainable practices, promote related job creation and training, and engage diverse partners and volunteers.
  • Support visible and accessible demonstration projects that showcase innovative, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly approaches to improve environmental conditions within urban communities by ‘greening’ traditional infrastructure and public projects such as storm water management and flood control, public park enhancements, and renovations to public facilities.
  • Support projects that increase the resiliency of the Nation’s coastal communities and ecosystems by restoring coastal habitats, living resources, and water quality to enhance livelihoods and quality of life in these communities.
Other Criteria for Competitive Applications:
  • Provide measurable and meaningful conservation or environmental outcomes
  • Align with one or more of the geographic or thematic priorities of NFWF
  • Demonstrate strong public/private partnerships including with local, state and federal agencies, as appropriate
  • Identify highly-visible project sites and activities to build community support for conservation activities and outcomes
  • Plan and execute meaningful volunteer opportunities, as appropriate
  • Implement, or be complementary to, an established conservation and/or watershed management plan and demonstrate that the agency or organization that developed the plan is a partner in – or at least is supportive of – the project
  • Leverage other public and private funding to increase the overall project outcomes
  • Be ready to begin implementation within six months of the grant award and complete the project within two years
Volunteer Events
Applicants should indicate in their proposals whether the proposed project involves the use of volunteers to accomplish the conservation work.  Indicate the nature of the volunteer event(s), experience in hosting similar events, timing, anticipated number of volunteers that can be accommodated, special requirements, etc.


To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency between the monitoring data provided by multiple grant projects, the Environmental Solutions for Communities program has a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees to choose from for reporting. We ask that you select the 1-4 most relevant metrics from this list for your project (all possible program metrics are shown in the table below).  If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Sarah McIntosh at sarah.mcintosh@nfwf.org or 202-595-2434 to discuss acceptable alternatives.
Project Activity
Recommended Metric
Additional Guidance
Beach habitat quality improvements
Hatchling disorientation rate
Enter the hatchling disorientation rate - Provide technical rate for sea turtle nesting sites
Beach habitat quality improvements
Miles restored
Enter the number of miles restored - Provide # miles of beach habitat restored
Beach habitat quality improvements
Miles restored (lighting)
Enter the number of miles restored to a maximum level of light intensity - Levels should meet best practices for sea turtle nesting impairment by light
Land, wetland restoration
Acres restored
Enter the number of acres restored - Provide # and type of habitat restored. If different types of habitat to be restored, provide # acres and list each individual type.
Removal of invasives
Acres restored
Enter the number of acres restored - Provide # acres restored and type of invasives removed
BMP implementation for nutrient or sediment reduction
Lbs. nutrients avoided (annual)
Enter the amount of nutrients prevented from entering system annually - Provide lbs. of nutrients prevented from entering waterways
BMP implementation for nutrient or sediment reduction
Lbs. sediment avoided (annually)
Enter the amount of sediment prevented from entering system annually - Provide lbs. of sediment prevented from entering waterways
BMP implementation for stormwater runoff
Volume stormwater prevented
Enter the volume (in gallons) of stormwater prevented from entering water body - Provide volume of stormwater captured by new green infrastructure practices
Green Infrastructure
# trees planted
Enter the number of trees planted. - Identify the type of tree(s) planted
Economic benefits
# jobs created
Enter the number of jobs created - Provide number of individuals hired by organization or contractor directly working on project (non-volunteers)
Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance
# people reached
Enter the number of people reached by outreach or technical assistance activities - Provide # of people reached & describe type of outreach
Volunteer participation
# volunteers participating
Enter the number of volunteers participating in projects - Provide number of community members directly engaged in project. If volunteers include youth (up to age 18) or veterans, specify # youth or # veterans.


  •  Eligible and Ineligible Entities
    • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, educational institutions.
    • Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal government agencies, businesses, unincorporated individuals and international organizations.
  •  Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds
    • NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
    • NFWF funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts. 


The Environmental Solutions for Communities program will award approximately $2.5 million in grants to projects in the targeted geographies. Each grant will range from $25,000 to $100,000 (see the geographic priorities list for the grant range for each area) and will be awarded to eligible entities working to help communities create a more sustainable future through responsible environmental stewardship. This program has one round of applications and awards approximately 50 grants per year. The average grant size is $40,000 nationwide, and $50,000 for regions where Wells Fargo has a larger market presence (indicated in the geographic priorities with an asterisk).
Project Period
Anticipated completion time for funded projects will typically be 18 months following finalization of a grant agreement. Projects may be a discrete part of a longer-term project, provided there are definable outcomes for the proposed phase of the overall effort. The project narrative should include a clear timetable or schedule for project completion.
Project start and end dates should define the period during which all proposed work is accomplished, all requested funds are spent and all matching funds are spent or applied. The start date may be back-dated up to 1 year prior to the award date to allow work directed to the project to be applied as matching contributions (back-dating does not reduce the prospective 18-month duration of a grant going forward).
Matching Contributions
The ratio of matching funds offered is one criterion considered during the review process, and projects that meet or exceed a 1:1 match ratio will be more competitive. Matching funds may include cash, in-kind contributions of staff and volunteer time, work performed, materials and services donated, or other tangible contributions to the project objectives and outcomes. The cost of recent land acquisition or easement may also qualify as match for a project involving work at the acquired site. In addition, if they would not be paid with requested grant funding, indirect costs may be applied as match by an applicant with a federally approved indirect rate (more information about using indirect costs as match can be found here).
To be eligible, matching contributions must be:
  • Verifiable from the grantee’s records
  • Not included as contributions for any other award
  • Necessary and reasonable for accomplishment of project or program objectives
  • Allowable costs based on the program and funding source guidelines
  • Committed directly to the project and used within the period of performance


All proposals will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness and compliance with NFWF and funding source policies. Proposals will then be evaluated based on the extent to which they meet the following criteria.
Required Criteria:
Program Goals and Priorities Project contributes to the Environmental Solutions for Communities Program goals and includes specific, quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate project success. Project addresses one or more of the program priorities outlined in the Request for Proposal.
Technical Merit – Project is technically sound and feasible, and the proposal sets forth a clear, logical and achievable work plan and timeline. Project engages appropriate technical experts throughout project planning, design and implementation to ensure activities are technically-sound and feasible.
Budget Costs are allowable, reasonable and budgeted in accordance with NFWF’s Detailed Budget Instructions cost categories. 
Long-term Sustainability – Project will be maintained to ensure benefits are achieved and sustained over time. This should include how future funding will be secured to implement necessary long-term monitoring and maintenance activities.
Other Criteria:
Transferability Project has potential and plan to transfer lessons learned to other communities and/or to be integrated into government programs and policies.
Communication – Project includes a detailed plan to communicate information about the project to appropriate audiences.
Funding Need – Project establishes a clear need for the funds being requested, and demonstrates that activities would not move forward absent funding.
Monitoring – Project includes a plan for monitoring progress during and after the proposed project period to track project success and adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise.
Past Success – Applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation practices with specific, measurable results.


Permits:   Applicants will be required to indicate the status of all permits required to comply with federal, state or local requirements. Successful applicants will be required to provide sufficient documentation that the project expects to receive or has received all necessary permits and clearances to comply with any Federal, state or local requirements.  Where projects involve work in the waters of the United States, NFWF strongly encourages applicants to conduct a permit pre-application meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers prior to submitting their proposal.  In some cases, if a permit pre-application meeting has not been completed, NFWF may require successful applicants to complete such a meeting prior to grant award.


Dates of activities are subject to change.  Please check the Program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information (Environmental Solutions for Communities).
Full Proposal Due Date                       December 10, 2015, 11:59 pm EST
Review Period                                    December, 2015 - May, 2016
Awards Announced                            June 2016


All application materials must be submitted online through NFWF’s Easygrants system.
  1. Go to easygrants.nfwf.org to register in our Easygrants online system.  New users to the system will be prompted to register before starting the application (if you already are a registered user, use your existing login).  Enter your applicant information.
  2. Once on your homepage, click the “Apply for Funding” button and select this RFP’s “Funding Opportunity” from the list of options.
  3. Follow the instructions in Easygrants to complete your application.  Once as application has been started, it may be saved and returned to at a later time for completion and submission.


A PDF version of this RFP can be downloaded at Environmental Solutions for Communities
A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can be downloaded at Environmental Solutions for Communities.  Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on the NFWF website’s “Applicant Information” page (http://www.nfwf.org/whatwedo/grants/applicants/Pages/home.aspx).
For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact:
Sarah McIntosh
Coordinator, Community-Based Conservation
Carrie Clingan
Manager, Community-Based Conservation
For issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact:
Easygrants Helpdesk
Voicemail:  202-595-2497
Hours:  9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET, Monday-Friday.
Include:  your name, proposal ID #, e-mail address, phone number, program you are applying to, and a description of the issue.

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